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Rugby: Hosts welcome 11 nations for Hong Kong Women’s Sevens

Hong Kong (pictured) will play host to 11 visiting teams at the Cathay Pacific / HSBC Hong Kong Women’s Sevens at Hong Kong Football Club on March 28.

Hong Kong (pictured) will play host to 11 visiting teams at the Cathay Pacific / HSBC Hong Kong Women’s Sevens at Hong Kong Football Club on March 28.

February 6, 2014: Kenya will make their debut at the Cathay Pacific / HSBC Hong Kong Women’s Sevens when the 17th edition is held at Hong Kong Football Club on March 28 (08:00-17:30), which is also the first day of the sold-out men’s event at Hong Kong Stadium.

 

Admission for the Women’s Sevens is free via the Jockey Club Museum Tunnel Entrance.

 

Kenya were among 12 competing teams announced on Thursday by the Hong Kong Rugby Football Union (HKRFU) and Hong Kong Women’s Rugby Sevens (HKWRS) organising committee.

 

Hosts Hong Kong, China, Japan, Kazakhstan and Singapore will represent Asia, while defending champions Canada, Brazil, France, Ireland, Kenya, Papua New Guinea and South Africa represent the Americas, Africa, Europe and Oceania.

 

Kenya will become the 37th national team to take part in the tournament, while Canada will be strong contenders to defend their title, having reached the final of last year’s Women’s World Cup Sevens in Moscow, losing to New Zealand.

 

The final of the Hong Kong Women’s Sevens will again be held on Friday evening at Hong Kong Stadium as part of the men’s Hong Kong Sevens, continuing a tradition that began in 1999.

 

Of the 12 competing teams, Canada and Ireland are core teams on the 2013/14 IRB Women’s Sevens World Series, having qualified by reaching the World Cup Sevens quarter-finals. In addition, Brazil have been invited by the IRB (International Rugby Board) to join all events on the current World Series to help develop the side ahead of the country’s hosting of the 2016 Olympics, when rugby sevens will make its Olympic debut.

 

The Hong Kong Sevens is not part of the World Series, but will be followed by the Guangzhou Sevens, which will be held from April 5-6 at the University Town Stadium and is the fourth of five legs on the IRB circuit. Canada are currently fourth in the table, followed by Brazil in eighth place and Ireland in 11th.

 

Ruth Mitchell, Tournament Director and Director of Development for the HKRFU, said: “The Hong Kong Women’s Sevens fills an important place on the international calendar, offering the teams going on to play in Guangzhou some high-calibre competition in the build-up to the fourth leg of the IRB Women’s Sevens World Series.

 

“At the same time, it gives Asia’s top teams vital exposure to competition against some of the world’s finest women’s sevens teams. We also look forward to continuing our tradition of showcasing some truly world-class women’s rugby to the 40,000 fans inside the Hong Kong Stadium on the Friday night of the men’s Sevens.”

 

China and Japan qualified for the Hong Kong Women’s Sevens as Asia’s top two sides at the World Cup Sevens and are currently the top ranked teams in Asia, followed by Kazakhstan, Hong Kong and Singapore.

 

However, China finished bottom of Pool B in Moscow following losses to Australia, Ireland and South Africa, while Japan lost to Russia, England and France in Pool D, making the Hong Kong and Guangzhou events important opportunities to improve their international standing.

 

The hosts will enter the Hong Kong Women’s Sevens with momentum after kicking off the professional era following the team’s inclusion into the Hong Kong Sports Institute elite athletes programme. Hong Kong recently won the women’s competition at the Darwin Sevens.

 

Source: HKRFU

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